Can You Manifest When Depressed? How to Manifest During Tough Times

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So much conflicting information on manifestation and the Law of Attraction might have you thinking that it’s impossible to manifest if you’re in a bad place and are struggling to see the light right now.

But can you manifest when depressed?

Hopefully after reading this you’ll have a clearer understanding of what it actually means to manifest when you’re feeling low, and the steps that you can take to bring your desires closer to you.

how to manifest anything even when you feel sad and hopeless

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Can you manifest when depressed?

In short - absolutely.

If you couldn’t manifest when depressed then absolutely everyone who has a depressive episode would stay trapped in it forever.

And although it can certainly feel like that’s the case at the time, many people do make it out of the other side, and even thrive.

Manifesting isn’t restricted to only happy people, and yet there is so much messaging surrounding the Law of Attraction that would give the impression that this is the case.

And it’s quite frankly a load of rubbish.

I know from my own experience that manifesting when suffering from low mood and mental health issues is possible.

And it might take completely changing what you think is true about manifestation, but that’s exactly what we’re about here at Through the Phases. 

man looking depressed with head in hands

My own experience of manifesting with depression

Law of Attraction and mental illness can be a tricky pair to partner up because so many of the things you’re told are vital for manifesting, like thinking positive and taking action, become so difficult when you’re suffering from low mood and motivation.

But my experience of manifesting with depression is testament to the fact that with some tweaks you can achieve amazing things, and in my opinion, go deeper into manifestation practices than you perhaps would have without the struggles and hardship.

I’ve suffered from poor mental health for my entire life. I grew up with complex PTSD, depression and social anxiety. I’m no stranger to mental health difficulties, that’s for sure!

And although I consider myself to be in a much better place than I was during my teenage years, my mental health is still an ongoing struggle and I’ve accepted that it will probably be a focus of mine for the rest of my life.

At times I’m sucked back into patterns of negative thinking, I have zero motivation to do anything, and I feel pretty hopeless.

But has this stopped me from manifesting amazing things for myself? Absolutely not.

During some of my darkest times has been when my faith in manifestation has been challenged most, but in these moments I feel like you’re called to go deeper than somebody perhaps would if they had everything handed to them on a plate.

During one of my lowest points in 2019 I could barely leave the house due to panic attacks from relationship trauma, I was unemployed and I was unhappy living in a box room in my parents home.

I was miserable and depressed, let’s be honest.

But I decided I wanted better for myself and I committed to achieving it through manifestation practice.

I had some evidence that manifestation worked but in that moment I had no real reason to believe that anything better was coming - I felt hopeless and like luck wasn’t on my side at all.

But within a year I had manifested a happy healthy relationship, a successful small business, and my first home on a solo-income.

And let me tell you, I didn’t do it through all the traditional ways that people tell you to manifest, like just thinking positive.

I put the work in to the steps that I’m about to share with you.

woman with head down looking sad

The myth of “positive vibes only”

One of my pet peeves with the Law of Attraction community is the whole concept of “positive vibes only”.

I feel like as manifestation has gained widespread popularity, this misconception has spread that in order to manifest good things into your life you have to think positive all the time.

Which is definitely why so many people think you can’t manifest when you’re depressed. Because the idea that feeling sad is “low vibe” means you will attract even more bad things into your life.

And that’s bullshit. And let’s be honest, definitely a form of spiritual gaslighting too.

There is so many things wrong with this way of thinking, like the fact that life is all about balance and we simply cannot feel a broad spectrum of emotions without also encountering some ‘negative’ ones along the way.

But mainly this gets my back up because there’s almost certainly always a reason that you’re feeling sad. 

So by trying to cover up these feelings with “positive vibes” or positive thoughts does nothing to actually process and work with the emotions.

All it does it pushes them deeper down creating a recipe for dysregulation and more stress and discomfort down the road.

My own personal view with manifestation is that we can use all of our emotions to bring us closer to our desires, even the less desirable ones. 

It’s working with our emotions in this way that allows us to show up as our most authentic selves, thus bringing ourselves more in alignment with the desires that we’re trying to attract.

It’s not about being happy all the time, it’s about being conscious and using our awareness to our advantage.

polaroids with mental health conditions written on them

How to manifest when you’re depressed

Follow these steps to learn how to manifest when you’re depressed, without having to subscribe to the idea of being ‘positive vibes only’.

1. Acknowledge and explore your feelings

From my experience, the first step to manifesting when sad or depressed is actually acknowledging and exploring your feelings.

As we just spoke about, burying your feelings below the surface is not going to help you further down the line.

The first step to healing your emotions is allowing yourself to feel them, no matter how uncomfortable they are.

From that point you can then see the emotion with more clarity and better navigate yourself through it, and even use it to your advantage!

Asking yourself these questions is a good place to start...

  • How am I truly feeling right now?
  • What is going on in my life right now that could be contributing to this feeling?
  • What do I need in order to move through this feeling? What needs of mine are not being met?
  • How can I get these needs met in a healthy way? 

And on top of this, a big one for me is allowing yourself to cry!

Crying is such a huge release of emotion, and it’s important to honour what your body is trying to do to expel the excess of emotion that you’re holding onto. Let it flow.

woman looking sad with neon feelings sign

Related: 34 Journal Prompts for Depression Relief

2. Work through your limiting beliefs

A big contributor to unsuccessful manifestation is limiting beliefs that are getting in the way of you calling in your desires and taking the necessary steps to make them happen.

When you have limiting beliefs standing in your way you’re more likely to play small and unconsciously hold onto things that keep you in your current circumstances.

And when you have depression or are currently feeling sad, there’s a good chance that you have more limiting beliefs than most.

But this doesn’t have to be the be all and end all, and it’s actually a great opportunity to get to know yourself more deeply and work towards creating a more healthy mindset to lift you from your low mood and start attracting the life that you want. 

The first step to working through your limiting beliefs is identifying them, and it can be tricky to do this when you’ve been stuck in the same way of thinking for so long.

But this free guide can help you to make a start to identifying what it is that’s holding you back from your desires and how to start working through your own blocks. 

3. Start small

The trouble is that when you’re in a depressive state you’re more likely to be extremely dissatisfied with your existing circumstances and want to make huge changes to make things better for yourself.

Take my experience for example - when I was in a deep depressive episode in 2019 I was unemployed, lonely and unhappy in my housing situation.

As we already established, within a year I had completely shifted these things.

However, had I set out to do what I did from the get go I probably would have completely overwhelmed myself and it wouldn’t have felt at all possible.

When you set huge milestones and desires for yourself when your existing reality feels shitty, it’s hard to even visualise that these things can happen to you.

When you feel like luck isn’t on your side, how are you going to believe that you’re capable of attracting a completely new way of life?

In my circumstance, I set super small goals for myself to begin the process of shifting out of my undesirable reality.

For me this meant setting myself a small income goal to get my business off the ground.

It was something that pushed me out of my comfort zone of what I thought was possible, but wasn’t so outlandish that I completely lost all belief in it happening.

The trick is to find that balance of pushing yourself but not overdoing it. 

When you’re feeling super low you need to go gentle with your intentions so that you’re not completely disheartened.

And the beauty of this is then that a sort of snowball effect happens.

When you manifest something small, your belief in the Law of Attraction starts to build. And more and more positive things start happening for you.

When this happens, you’re able to see that anything is possible, rather than falling at the first hurdle.

wilting flowers


4. Practice gratitude

While we know how much I hate “good vibes only” there is some level of truth to looking on the bright side.

When we’ve fallen into states of depression it’s easy to believe that everything in our lives is bad, when in actual fact there might be more to smile about than we initially thought. 

Gratitude is an amazing practice to help us reframe our thinking and look for the good things in life, so we can place more weight on them and start to attract more things like them.

It’s not about lying to ourselves or trying to cover up anything bad that’s going on, but instead about changing our attitude to see that everything can be an opportunity for growth and to call in something better.

Again, start small. If you feel like there’s not much good going on right now then that’s okay.

But the more and more you practice gratitude, the more you’ll start to rewire your brain to see things in this light, and the easier you’ll find manifestation becomes.

Here are some tips to get you started with a gratitude journal, and some prompts if you feel super stuck in the beginning.

dog looking depressed

5. Return to your faith

When we’re low in mood we have a negative bias that tends to place weight on the negative, which is one reason why we just spoke about practicing gratitude.

But what this also means is that whenever things go wrong, such as our manifestations not coming by a certain time, we’re quick to use this as evidence that things aren’t working out for us.

We’ll quickly turn to things like:

“Nothing good ever happens to me”

“Manifestation doesn’t work for me”


“I might as well give up”

polaroid with hopelessness written on it

And this type of thinking will automatically hold you back and keep you from achieving your desires.

The challenge here is to return to your faith even in the midst of everything seemingly going wrong.

When a desire doesn’t come, tell yourself it’s because it’s making way for something better. Or use it as an opportunity to do more work on yourself.

The thing about faith is that it’s easy to be faithful when everything’s going right in your life, but when things are going wrong that’s when real faith comes in.

Whenever you catch yourself getting caught up in feelings of hopelessness or distrust in the process, return to your faith.

It might feel inauthentic at first, but the more and more you do it, the more natural it will become.

And in time you will actually learn to trust the Universe and in divine timing. 

6. Take inspired action

Something we briefly touched on earlier was the fact that when you’re feeling low and unmotivated it can be hard to take action, and this is one reason why people think you can’t manifest when depressed.

But I want to offer an alternative view on this. Because I believe that so many of us have got action-taking completely wrong.

We believe that in order for us to manifest our desires, we have to be working at them consistently, and that if we stop focusing on them we’ll stop seeing results.

And that may well be true for some people who aren’t doing all of the work you’re going to be doing to show up as your authentic self and bring yourself into alignment with your desires.

But it doesn’t have to be true for you.

Because the truth is, when you’re doing all of the work we just spoke about, action taking becomes less of a thing that we force ourselves to do to get results, and more of a thing that we feel inspired to do.

When you’re in alignment with your desires and putting work into yourself, you’ll find that thoughts, ideas, and actions come to you at the most random of times that call for you to take action.

And vowing to take action in these moments is not only what will bring you closer to your desires, but it also completely takes the pressure off of all the times you don’t feel like that.

Because you can trust that even on days when you completely can’t get out of bed, shower, or even brush your teeth, it’s all okay. It’s a part of your journey.

And soon a day will come where you feel completely lit up by the idea of doing something and you get a burst of motivation to see it through.

Cherish those moments and more of them will come.

if you never know failure you will never know success quote

I hope that this post gave you some more insight into how to manifest when you’re depressed, as well as some reassurance that it is possible.

As a rule of thumb, never let anybody tell you what is or isn’t possible for you.

This is your journey and you’re the co-creator of your reality.

If you enjoyed this read, here are some more posts you might like:

Don’t forget to pin this post to refer back to!

how to use the law of attraction when you're depressed

About Esther

Esther is the founder of Through the Phases.  Her mission is to guide others to grow to their full potential and create their dream life using spiritual and personal growth practices. Read more about her story here!

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